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Colgate Brings RPI's Season to an End

By Ed Weaver

Troy Record, March 4, 2007

HAMILTON - Seth Appert yearned for a lead to see if Colgate could deal with the pressure of being behind.

Unfortunately the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute hockey team never fulfilled its coach's goal. Colgate rode its hot goalie Mark Dekanich and never trailed in the series as it swept RPI in their ECACHL first-round series with a 4-1 victory in Game 2 on Saturday.

"That's been the story of the year," RPI senior Kirk MacDonald said. "We just couldn't put the puck in the net and it happened again tonight. Dekanich is a good goalie and we fired a lot at him."

Dekanich made three stellar saves in the first five minutes of the third period with his team clinging to a one-goal lead.

"Early on in the season, we blew a few close games like that in the third period and I think we matured enough and improved enough to be able to hold on to games like that and the lead," said Dekanich, who finished with 25 saves.

Appert was left to shake his head at Dekanich's performance. But he wasn't surprised that Colgate's goalie proved the difference.

"He showed why he's one of, if not the, best goalies in our league," Appert said. "In a game you get 15 really high, high quality scoring looks, you usually end up with more than one goal. A little problem of ours all year is our ability to finish."

Colgate jumped out to an early lead with a power-play goal in the first, but the Engineers answered when Jonathan Ornelas smacked a puck over Dekanich, who was flat on the ice, thinking the puck was under him.

RPI thought it had its first lead of the series 15 seconds into the second period when Oren Eizenman blasted a shot and the red goal light flashed, but the referee immediately waved off the goal and play continued.

"The only disappointment I had with that was that the goal judge was conferred and I'm not sure listened to," Appert said. "It sure seemed like there was a lengthy discussion on that side of the ice with Colgate being quite mad about what the discussion seemed like was going on. Colgate coach Don Vaughan said he thought the puck hit the pipe and never crossed the line."

It would have been Eizenman's 100th career point.

However, Colgate retook the lead about seven minutes later when Tom Riley skated the length of the ice, juked past the RPI defender and slipped the puck over RPI goalie Jordan Alford's shoulder.

The Raiders pushed the lead to two goals when Jesse Winchester scored on a penalty shot, which was awarded when RPI's Jake Luthi took him down on a breakaway. It was even more painful for the Engineers since they were on the power play at the time.

"It definitely helped with the emotions on the bench," Winchester said of his goal. "But as far as thinking the game was over, they don't quit at all. They come every minute, every step, every shift."

It was only the third time in Colgate's history that a player converted a penalty shot. The last time was in 1981, when former RPI coach Dan Fridgen did it.

The Engineers finish the season 10-18-8 overall in Appert's first season.

"We played really hard for 60 minutes and had two or three letdowns and that was the game and it cost us the series," MacDonald said.